Birdwatch: a Bigger Beta
"mo money, mo problems" - the Notorious B.I.G.
News from Birdwatch:
The headline change is a two-phase onboarding process. Contributors must correctlyrate five Birdwatch comments before they can write new ones.
Also, Birdwatch comments will become visible to more participants who do not have editing permissions (50% of all USA users). We will find out how that turns out soon.
Throughout the United States
The Birdwatch beta currently requires a verified phone number from a USA-based carrier.
This is a good short-term strategic decision, as “expanding the project to other languages and geographies” will be a major undertaking. A cautionary tale here is the story of the ideological capture of the Croatian-language Wikipedia.
De Minimis Non Curat Lex
when does a Tweet become prominent enough to justify a response?
Consider a hypothetical tweet from an account with zero followers: “Ralph Nader won the 2000 presidential election! Don’t believe the lies!”
Is it really worth putting that in the review queue?
Either through “over-enthusiastic reviewer searches for obviously false tweets” or “good-hand/bad-hand self-promotion”, it is likely that a tweet like that will show up at some point. This one (account has 176 followers) is close:
Of course the screenshot is fake. That’s not really the point …
Occupy the Mindspace
Tokenliberal-disinformation outlet "Occupy Democrats" shows up on Birdwatch quite frequently.
The double-negatives make it difficult to entangle what is being saidhere, or what Dr. Oz actually said, or when it was said. It’s not a good tweet.
But is a piecemeal approach to Occupy Democrats really going to improve the discourse? Or does it just amplify their ideological agenda?
Le déluge (The Flood)
The only problem worse than “not having enough people participating in Birdwatch” is “too many people participating in Birdwatch”:
There are, as of when this was written, nine different Birdwatch comments. One of them uses the neologism TFGwithout context. Another is sourced to a website that makes dubious claims. Most of the others are fairly similar.
The review option “correct, but a different note is better” does not appear to be available in any form yet. Perhaps it will show upsoon.
You can’t fact-check a fish
Some tweets are, on their face, pure opinion.
The “report card” is obviously an advertising gimmick. It doesn’t need a Birdwatch noteto say that.
But, clearly, people will continue to do so. (They will also continue to reply to tweets like this in the normal way, which is a different conversation.)
Other Coverage: Gizmodo, TechCrunch
It is difficult to define what it means to “correctly” rate a Birdwatch comment. If it were easy, there wouldn’t need to be a massive project to determine which comments are correct. Furthermore, if the same few questions are always used, the onboarding process becomes a game … that it is easy to cheat at.
Is “comments” the correct word to describe Birdwatch entries?
Something like 90% of accounts that delibrately blur the truth to make a political point are Republican-aligned. Occupy Democrats is a taste of what it looks like when Democrats do it.
I don’t have many thoughts for public consumption on “managing the stigma of being reviewed by Birdwatch”. There shouldn’t be no stigma, but there also shouldn’t be as much stigma as an unmanaged system would create.
What is being said is that, as far as genetic abnormalities are concerned, you are fine to reproduce with your second cousin.
I believe TFG = “The Former Guy”, aka Donald J. Trump.
There also isn’t an option for “Twitter, but anyone who insists on still talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails is shadowbanned”. But that’s a different department.
There is an argument that, if Twitter knows what the genre of the tweet is, it might as well say it. But between the “stigma of being corrected by Birdwatch” and the “overhead/promotion of sending tweets to the Birdwatch queue”, it’s not helpful here.